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Spelling Bee Contest Tips
from Gail Small

  1. Take a deep breath when you get to the microphone.

  2. Take your time.

  3. Think of the audience as a bunch of cabbage heads and don't worry about them. Congratulations! The audience is proud and in support of every speller.

  4. Focus. Listen. Hear the word clearly.

  5. Any question? Ask the pronouncer for a definition or word usage in a sentence to clarify the word being asked.

  6. Close your eyes and visualize the word.

  7. Remember ~Always do your very best!!!

Kendra tied for 14th place in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C.

Kendra Yoshinaga spelled her way to a third championship and competed in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C.

Kendra was the last speller standing from California. She got out when given the French word, "cointise" which she had never seen before.

Kendra has "retired" from spelling. Now she has the desire to seek new challenges, hobbies and interests.

Gail continues to speak on spelling at various schools to encourage bees and getting the words off of the pages. She appears in local schools and bees to instill positive thoughts about spelling and to increase literacy with young children.

Gail and Kendra co-wrote The Spelling Bee and Me: A Real- Life Adventure in Learning. This book is rich with the story of being in a spelling bee and the tips of Gail, Kendra and her parent coaches.

There were close to eleven million participants in the spelling competitions throughout the United States and Europe, Canada, New Zealand, Guam, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, The Bahamas and American Samoa. Kendra passed the very difficult round one of 25 words on a written test. Her words on stage in other rounds and spelling before a crowd and live on ESPN were: Borsalino, sedentary, ikebana, pulicide, uncinate.

Words she spelled to earn her championship to go to the Scripps National Spelling Bee included: penalty, capsule, tapestried, acoustics, liturgy, susceptible, cornucopia, vermiculated, pancetta, subboreal, aryl, noumenon, rocaille, greffier.



The National Spelling Bee and Related Links:

The Spelling Bee and Me: A Real-Life Adventure in Learning is a book written by Kendra Yoshinaga and Gail Small when they went to Waashington D.C. for the National Spelling Bee. The book came about when Kendra's younger brother Kai discovered to his surprise that a spelling bee in our nation's capitol isn' t about bees buzzing in Washington, DC. He also thought his sister was playing musical chairs.

The Spelling Bee and Me: A Real-Life Adventure in Learning is really many books in one! First is the true story written especially for children of the fun and adventure of what really happens at the National Spelling Bee. You can be at the BEE without really being there. The illustrations by David Endelman give you an insider's view of the spelling bee experience.

Don't Worry, Bee Happy is a section of the true hands-on, step by step account of Kendra's parent coaches about preparing for the bee. This includes the academic tips as well as the emotions of a spelling bee.

Creative Ideas For Teaching Spelling: Spelling Can be Fun! provides hands-on activities and lessons for teachers and parents. Gail Small believes these techniques can make a significant difference with students and contributed to the success in spelling for Kendra who was in her multi-aged class for first, second and third grade.

A Message From Kendra includes a child's words, thoughts and tips as a young National Spelling Bee contestant.

The American Bee: The National Spelling Bee and the Culture of Word Nerds is a book by James McGuire that takes readers behind the scenes at the National Bee,

Other suggestions to encourage a speller and capture a student's interest and focus on spelling include these movies:

Akeelah and the Bee


Want to know more? Check out: Scripps National Spelling Bee

Want to have some fun with spelling? Make lists of favorite foods, places, and interesting words.